Reach plc’s annual report reveals staggering £4m chief executive pay package

  • 15 Mar 2022

The NUJ calls on the company to ensure a fair pay increase is awarded to staff this year.

Cost-of-living increases and pay stagnation means journalists working within Reach plc face a financial squeeze, at the same time as new details of the chief executive’s seven-figure pay package has emerged. The National Union of Journalists is urging the company to reward the significant contribution of staff through a pay award achieved with genuine engagement with the union.

Although the annual report states the company made “significant investments in employee wellbeing”, the NUJ remains concerned about the damaging impact a new Accelerating Personal Development pilot scheme could have on staff mental health. The union has been engaged in discussions with Reach plc over recent months and will continue to represent member concerns over increased scrutiny of page views.

Chris Morley, Reach NUJ national coordinator, said:

“After admittedly tightening their belts a couple of notches in 2020, our members are astonished that the two top executives in Reach pulled in combined renumeration of nearly £7.5m between them last year.

“For chief executive Jim Mullen, his total salary, bonus and benefits pot of £4m was the highest award to the most senior executive in the company in the last decade - almost double the next nearest year of 2015.

“According to the latest annual report, Jim Mullen’s remuneration was equal to that of 117 of his lower paid staff – disappointingly, at a stroke, massively widening inequality within the company.

“Some, limited, improvement was made in reducing the overall median gender pay gap by 3.7 per cent to 11.7 per cent (though specific employing companies within the group have yet to report), but much more effort seems to have gone to vastly enrich the top strata who remain a majority of men.

“By making such big pay-outs to the chief executive and finance director, clearly the board believes the company has performed well and is successful. Therefore, directors need to start to make amends on languishing employees’ pay now. They must properly fund a decent pay rise for 2022 to their journalists so that it better reflects their true value to the company and wider society - and goes to meet the enormous challenge posed by the very real cost of living crisis.

“A large majority of Reach journalists are now working from home as a result of the new ‘home and hub’ policy and while the company will be benefiting annually with savings to the tune of £8m, most of the costs have been passed to our members. There has to be a just settlement to this year’s pay round.”

Read the Reach annual report

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